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Variability of Optical Depth and Effective Radius in Marine Stratocumulus Clouds

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Title: Variability of Optical Depth and Effective Radius in Marine Stratocumulus Clouds
Author: Szczodrak, Malgorzata; Austin, Philip H.; Krummel, P. B.
Issue Date: 2001-10
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2011-03-25
Publisher American Meteorological Society
Citation: Szczodrak, M., Austin, Phil H. Krummel, P. B. 2001. Variability of Optical Depth and Effective Radius in Marine Stratocumulus Clouds. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 58(19) 2912–2926. dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(2001)058<2912:VOODAE>2.0.CO;2
Abstract: Radiance measurements made by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) at 1-km (nadir) spatial resolution were used to retrieve cloud optical depth (τ) and cloud droplet effective radius (reff) for 31 marine boundary layer clouds over the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean near Tasmania. In the majority of these scenes (each roughly 256 × 256 km2 in extent) τ and reff are strongly correlated, with linear least squares yielding a regression curve of the form reff τ1/5. This relationship is consistent with an idealized model of a nonprecipitating layer cloud in which 1) the average cloud liquid water content increases linearly with height at some fraction of the adiabatic lapse rate in a 1 km2 vertical column, and 2) the normalized horizontal variability of the cloud liquid water path exceeds the variability of a scaled measure of the cloud droplet number concentration. In contrast, other scenes of similar horizontal extent show little or no correlation between retrieved values of τ and reff. These scenes include thicker clouds in which precipitation may be occurring, as well as cloud layers with spatially distinct regions of varying reff. In situ aircraft measurements were made simultaneously with six AVHRR overpasses as part of the Southern Ocean Cloud Experiment. The clouds sampled by these flights were significantly thicker than the typically 200-m-thick eastern Pacific stratocumulus, with large vertical and horizontal variability. On five of the six flights, aircraft measurements of the cloud-top effective radius were well matched by the satellite retrievals, and in two of these layers reff τ1/5. Copyright 2001American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at (http://www.ametsoc.org/) or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or copyright@ametsoc.org.
Affiliation: Earth and Ocean Sciences, Dept. of (EOS), Dept of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/32962
Peer Review Status: Reviewed
Scholarly Level: Faculty

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